Friday, June 15, 2012

I should be writing a Book

 How to start a business in New Brunswick would be the title. Or maybe I should name it: Don’t start a business in New Brunswick. The ordeal I have been going through is indeed hard to describe. At times I was speechless, then again there was so much anger that I could scream at my adversaries. I have done business start-ups before but what’s going on here “takes the cake”.

There are layers on layers of bureaucracy, of incompetence and ignorance, of useless laws and regulations. The fact that these layers of administrative idiocy are not working hand in hand, but even try to beat each other over the head doesn’t make life easy. 

Yesterday evening, it was a quarter past ten, I received an email saying that the van was finally ready to be picked up and if we could come the next day…. Like we have nothing else going on over here. But alright, we thought we go up there.

The clock wasn’t even 5am (4am EDT) when I woke up. I felt like a sledgehammer had worked on me all night, Must’ve been the 12-hour day of traveling through Maine the day before. Yep and here we were getting up to do it again, this time to the Village of Bath.

We reached the place before the clock showed 10am – not bad, but we went through the U.S. up to Houlton, as that is the faster way. At Woodstock we were back in Canada.

The van was indeed ready to go and after exchanging papers (cheques against bill of sale) we were on our way back – to Service New Brunswick’s location (Canada’s version of DMV) in Woodstock. Of course the GPS-gal couldn’t find the address in town (that's almost normal in Canada) we asked a couple of youngsters and they pointed us into the right direction.

Walking inn there I surveyed the situation. There were about 15 people waiting and two gals working with three more wickets being empty. I asked the guy beside of me whether they had lunch hour. Nope, what i saw was the normal way of things in here. I had pulled number 81 and the counter was standing on 75. That wouldn’t be too bad, if both girls would have been working on the missing 6 numbers. However one of them was doing something else, namely calling up a bunch of those waiting people for one or the other payment they had to make.  As the slow motion picture went on I was getting mightily annoyed. After 45 minutes of waiting it was my turn.

So after presenting my errand and handing over the papers which consisted of insurance, registration slip with request of transfer of ownership and a bill of sale on village of Bath stationary the gal asks why the bill of sale wasn’t signed. Not signed? I looked and yes the village clerk hadn’t signed the paper. With no signature she couldn’t help me and I was out the door – furious. Back in Alberta we never needed two documents for transfer of ownership. The slip from the previous owners registration would be enough if signed. And that document had the clerk’s signature, alright!

I called the village clerk but nobody there took the phone. Going back? Wouldn’t make sense. Instead I left a message and hit the highway again. I could still reach the service location in St. Stephen, if the clerk would fax the signed bill of sale over there.  I called three more times – the last time I finally got an answer. The paper would be on the fax when I would be getting there 2 hours later.

To do that I had to cross borders the 4th. time that day. When I approached the small border crossing at Milltown I was the last vehicle in a line-up of approx. 50. I had never seen such a thing there. Normally, that border crossing is a breeze. I waited 10 minutes but nothing moved forward. When the first vehicles broke out and turned back, I did the same. Went to the St. Stephen border crossing – just to meet the same situation there, except they have 3 lanes through the passport check and that made the line across the bridge move forward. When it was my turn they gave me that known yellow card, which means they want to check your vehicle. Behind the passport check was pandemonium. 15-20 officers were milling about checking every single vehicle from top to bottom.  They did that with my van as well – and came back happy as can be. Have a nice day!  Yeah right! I could need that.

Meanwhile, at Service New Brunswick, they had received the fax from Bath. However, when I told them that I had in mind to register the van as a commercial vehicle the guy’s face showed grave concern. It turned out the license plate on the van was a Municipality plate costing only 18 Bucks a year. And they were not willing to let me continue with that price tag. But then he didn’t really knew what to do and called the upper superiors in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick. After waiting 10minutes on the phone he got the O.K. that the license plate could stay but he would have to change the classification on it. From municipal to private.
To Private?  I asked.
I’m gonna use the van for business. Shouldn’t it be commercial?  No, if that vehicle had windows it wouldn’t be commercial. it would be passenger.  Note, that he did not ask for seats in the vehicle, but windows.  Aren’t there cargo vans around with windows? 

I didn’t understand a thing longer, just wanted to get the heck out of there – with ANY kind of registration.

When I finally did I had a vehicle with a municipal license plate with a private passenger registration and a commercial use!

Did you follow this one?  I still can’t comprehend what has happened.

The very last volume of this hasn’t even been written yet. Monday morning I have to send the registration and insurance paper to the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board to receive my permit for public passenger transportation. When this guy sees the private vehicle registration I am sure we will have another problem. But that will be another story on another day.

Thanks for laughing!


  1. Well, I must say I'm not really surprised. Many times where there is the ability to control others some folks will find it. They're in charge and they obviously are letting you know that. Sorry, you have to go through so much.

  2. Peter,please send me your e-mail.
    Thanks Daniel

  3. You know, the first year that I started working "on the side", I went to the trouble of registering a business name, doing all the paperwork, paying the taxes etc.
    One year was enough.
    I said to hell with it, and decided after that to just work for cash. Folks didn't mind going to the bank machine to get my cash after I had installed their appliances or fixed their botched up repairs for half the price they would have had to pay otherwise.
    I sure hope dealing with all the bureaucracy works out for you. I didn't have the patience for it.

  4. Wow such a frustrating day, hopefully they get better from here on in. Good luck

  5. What a frustrating day, I can feel your pain. Licensing, insurance and registration is always a baffling experience to me. I just hope that if the time ever comes when I need it that all my t's are crossed and i's dotted - but, who really knows?

  6. What a Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day for you Peter. I would have been spitting nails by the time I got through. I think you showed wonderful restraint.


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